Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BTV: Bowden Television

For those of you who just can't get enough of The Great American Bowden Vacation (anyone? anyone?) I have GREAT NEWS! There's more! You've heard the stories, you've seen the photos, now it's time to watch the video! Now, I was raised in a home video loving family, but I know there's nothing worse than sitting down to watch a forty-five minute slide show of Grandpa's trip to CarWorld (that may or may not be a real memory from my childhood), so I've done my best to keep this entertaining. It's less informative, or even sensical, and more silly highlights from our trip. Pure Bowdenisms.

First up: a montage of our finest filming moments. None of this would have been
possible without our trusty video camera. If only we know how to work it....

An Amateur Production from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

But fear not, we are not only terrible at filming, we also have poor directional skills! We opted not to google-map any or our trip, and we skipped the GPS upgrade, so we were rollin' old school with a backseat full of maps, and an only slightly helpful AAA Trip Tik. It wasn't perfect, but we muddled through....

Are We There Yet? from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

Dustin and I went on two, count 'em, TWO dates this weekend. I think all our Western Adventures inspired us to get out and explore our own city a little more.

Friday I made reservations at a restaurant we passed a few weeks ago and wanted to try. On our way there we were treated to an amazing sunset. What a beautiful way to start an evening.

Dinner was delicious- and a nearby table provided our second spectacular view of the evening: a group of Steelers, including Hines Ward, Deshea Townsend, Tyrone Carter (Polamalu's back up) among others (in order to identify them all, we would've had to embarrass ourselves, and bother them....so we admired from afar instead.) Seeing football players isn't rare in the Southside, but it was a still a bit crazy to eat dinner next to such a large group of pro-athletes.
But perhaps even more impressive then the guys themselves, were their cars. On our way out we passed a silver Aston Martin (license plate: Ooo-Wee!) and then parked next-to, nay, on-top of, our car was perhaps the largest truck I've ever seen- with rims to match of course. I had to climb over its gigantic wheels (there were 8 tires!) and weasel my way into my barely-cracked car door. Whoever parked that beast (one of the player's drivers perhaps?) is lucky they didn't scrape the paint on my ride!

Poor little Corolla.

So, we had a lovely dinner, and a small brush with fame....but the next night was just as nice. We went out for a late dinner at our local fake-irish pub where Dustin's friend/teacher, Joel and his band were playing. The food was delicious (potatoes, yum!) and the music was great, but the best part was just hanging out with Dustin. We had a great talk, about...everything...family, friends, future babies, fears, insecurities, hopes, life. We spend a lot of time together, but often it's filled with errand running, tv watching, working or sleeping. It was a welcome treat to sit and chat, and beyond that- to get into serious meaningful talks with the person I love most in this world. I am blessed.
Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why hike when you can ride?

It's been a full week of vacation goodness, but we're not done yet. Our big excursion in Colorado was 4-wheeling to the top of a 12,000ft mountain. It was a little scary, a little dangerous, and a lot of fun. Words and photos just can't describe it though- for that we have video.

Enjoy the ride!

Peaking a "Twelver" from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bowdens Go West: Colorado

The upside of arriving in Colorado was immense: we got to visit a state neither of us have seen before, explore the largest mountains in the country, escape the desert heat, and of course spend time with great friends. But the downside was this was the last stop on our tour. After this it was back to the real world, so we lived it up as much as possible in our last few days.
Click items for a closer look.

It's hard to describe the beauty and the fun that Colorado had for us.
Hopefully some pictures will do it justice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bowdens Go West: Moab

Just when the noise, expense, crowds and lights of Vegas were getting to be a bit overwhelming, it was time for us to make our escape to polar opposite location: Moab, Utah. This was the destination that people were most surprised to hear about when we described our itinerary, but it was one of the places I was most excited to visit. It is home to Arches National Park, which has some of the most astounding natural scenery on the planet. I've heard rave reviews from family and friends, and couldn't wait to see it in person.
Click each item to read details.

Loved this place. So refreshing after the pretencious places in Vegas.
Just an authentic, enjoyable spot to enjoy some delicious food and drink!

The amount of photos and video we took in Arches is utterly ridiculous. But it's hard to hold back when everything you see is "photo worthy". Skim through....I won't be offended.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bowdens Go West: Las Vegas

After taking in the gorgeous desert sites of Arizona- Phoenix, Grand Canyon and Sedona, it was time to shift gears a bit: goodbye nature's beauty, hello man made excess! Las Vegas was certainly different than our last few locales, but I was really excited for the change in pace. Dustin had never been, and I had only gone once, back when I was about seventeen (an age which forbids most of Vegas' charms). Our plan was to get some sun, gamble a little, eat a ton, and just take in the sites. Done, done, done AND done.

Click on each photo to see close-up.

Abosolutely delicious. There are few things I love more than a burger!
And it's fun to be "gourmet" for a day.

Hotels are just about the only place in Vegas where you
can still find a deal. Adored our hotel.

Not a bad way to get out of the heat for a bit.

Dustin and I made reservations at a fancy shmancy place in the Bellagio.We got
all dressed up, trekked down a few blocks (me in heels!) were seated and presented
with the wine list.....and......we bailed. I just couldn't justify the expense, and felt
out of place in such a formal (i.e. stuffy) space. Thankfully Dustin understood and we
made a quiet exit. After both of us being cranky and hungry for a bit, we wandered into Seredipity. Best choice ever. From now on, no more "fancy for fancy sake" outings. I'm much more satisfied with great food in a comfortable and creative environment.

Didn't take as many pictures here as you would think. Too busy taking it all in, and besides, who wants to lug the camera around all day? But we managed to capture the highlights!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bowdens Go West: Sedona

After we got our fill of the gaping hole, we retraced our "steps" (like 120 miles worth....) on the road back to Sedona. Not the brightest move to go to the canyon first, but we didn't know any better- We had been warned, but we thought we'd more time at Grand Canyon. Wrong-o. If we could do it agin, we'd spend twice as much time in Sedona....it was beyond beautiful.

We loved it here, even thought it was only a quick trip. Great relaxing day, with unbeatable scenery. I'd say it was one of our favorites, but that's true of pretty much everything on this trip!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Quick break from the vacation talk....it's time to DANCE! (Dance, dance, dance.)
Last week, Rachel kicked off the 'Sisterhood', and based on her recap alone I agree with Cat Deely that this is "shaping up to be the biggest and best season EVER!" Seriously, the bar is set high- Rachel brought the funny, AND kept it succinct. And then the new kid on the blog-block, Brian, had to be all clever in the comments....who invited that guy?

But tonight Cat is looking good, Mia's here to judge, and auditions are in Phoenix. I feel right at home! Let's do it....

Bizarro Rob and Big are up first: otherwise known as Biggie and Shorty. Fun to watch, but Nigel's right that it was more of a "wobble", than a pop&lock.

Then in true SYTYCD audition tradition- it's time for some good old fashioned Tragedy Overcomers. Allison Becker is a contemporary dancer who is also hearing impaired. She's pretty much all muscles and a smile. Nigel talks to her in his "dealing with foreigners voice", meaning he Yells. Real. Slow. She's deaf, not an idiot. Mary cries. Mia refuses to cry (but totally wants to). The other adversity facers are "same sex dancers". We've been down this road before, and Nigel needs to redeem himself from his comments last year- or at least stay out of trouble....and NOW Mia cries.

Not a lot to say about this week. There's a few contemporary folks that got through, but the theme is clearly Weirdos, so there's a longer list of bad dancers than I typically enjoy. I don't even know what to say about the Disco/Bollywood/Baton/Cheerleader. And then there's a spunky young thing they (appropriately) call "Dancing fool"- His spasms "earn" him a very forced, very mandatory standing ovation from the other contestants. And finally there's the montage parade of kooks, including a contortionist, Tranny-Beyonce, couple of demon hosts and a case of the hiccups. Not exactly history in the making.

What this edition does have, is some good indie girl music. We get not one, TWO songs by Adele(who is at the top of my Artists I Didn't Know I Loved list): "First Love" and "Make You Feel My Love". Also in the mix is an Ingrid Michaelson cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love".

Rounding out this week is b-boy Jonathan "Legacy" Perez. He spins like a top all over the stage, and causes Mia to take a page from Lil' C's thesaurus, calling him stupid (comma "real stupid") and disgusting. Meaning she loves him.

So there you go. Sure, we got some classic SYTYCD formulas and hijinks, but I honestly believe this season's talent and personality could far surpass last season (which you may recall was the BEST. SEASON. EVER. At the Kodak!!!!). Next week-is Bawstun, hosted by the lovely Megan. But now....comment time! Go!

Bowdens Go West: The Grand Canyon

We rose bright and early on Sunday morning- partly because we were still on East Coast Time, partly because it's crazy sunny in Phoenix, but mostly because we had to get on the road! We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with my aunt and uncle in their outdoor dining terrace (yeah, that's right!) and then it was off to The Grand Canyon! Dustin was given the honors of recording the highlights:
click to enlarge....
...and with his handwriting, you'll need to!

Bowdens Go West- Grand Canyon

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bowdens Go West: Phoenix

First stop on our journey was a visit to my Uncle Joe and Aunt Delene's house. They've lived in Arizona for about six years, but I had not yet made it out to see them. I'm so glad we finally did. We had a great time catching up with them, and my cousins Eliana and Luke (who seem to grow at an alarming rate! Or am I just getting old?) They graciously opened up their beautiful home, and showed us around city a bit. It was a wonderful place to start our trip- made even better by some wonderful people to share it with (and ok, some wonderful food too! You'll see that theme develop soon enough).
Here's the rest of the scoop.....
(click pics for larger view)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Go West, Young Bowdens!

On September 4th, Dustin and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. (4th on the 4th...fun right?!) We try to do something special each year, and this year could be one of the biggest yet. We took time off from work and set off on a week long cross country adventure. We had five main stops on our tour- Phoenix, The Grand Canyon/Sedona, Las Vegas, Moab, Denver/Salida.....We flew out to Phoenix, and then road tripped it from there. We were able to spend a couple days in each location before ending in Colorado for our flight home. It was a whirlwind vacation, but we had a spectacular time. I wanted a unique way to record our memories, rather than trying to force 8,000 details into a blog post, so we saved souvenirs (some may say "stole"- as I would pretty much put any writeable surface in my purse before anyone knew what happened) from notable locations: parks, hotels and eateries, and jotted down reflections as we went. Hopefully it'll be a fun "old-timey" way to share our trip with you. Stay tuned this week for highlights!

In a nutshell:
Click Pic for Detail

Friday, September 4, 2009

Play a song for me...

Dustin and I are on vacation for the next week celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary (do not rob our house....we have people watching it while we're gone. Cops, actually. With big dogs. For real.) So while we're gone, I've prepared a little interactive post for you. Now, this one requires two steps: read, and respond. A lot of you are good at the first part....only a few of you have mastered the commenting portion. So this is a chance for everyone to get in on the action- Read on and chime in, consider it an anniversary present to us....

It is no secret that Dustin is not the only love of my life. No...he shares my heart with a force stronger than the two of us. And that is the irresistible ring of a tambourine.

Oh, my love runs deep. And loud. I've had a long history with the tambourine, but the relationship was cemented the night of my bachelorette party (where all good matches are made!). She lured me in with her siren song, and she made me a star. Well...if not a star, then at least a really loud drunk girl rockin' a tiara. Which is close! Then on our 2nd anniversary (a day that I like to think of as a celebration of the three of us), Dustin gave me the only gift suitable to represent the bond we share. I became the proud companion of this sassy young thing:

Not shown: her extreme rock-i-tude.

Two years later, I am still mastering the fine art of tambourine playing, but it is not due to lack of opportunities. You'd be surprised how many occasions call for some tambourine greatness. As I often say (often!), I've never regretted bringing my tambourine, but regretted leaving her at home? Every time.

We've long talked about how my crescent friend needs a moniker. But no name seemed suitable as of yet. So I will follow the lead of one of my favorite blogger inspirations, Whoorl. A while back, she took up guitar, and held a contest to name her 6 string beauty. The winning name: Ramón Alejandro Django. It is truly a quality name, that respects and honors the deep bond between instrument and musician.

And so it falls on you to find that perfect name for my delicate cymbal-ed friend. She is counting on you to put words to her spirit. She is a feisty character, who loves the limelight. But she understands her role as a backup player; her enthusiasm delights without overpowering.

So I urge you to take your responsibility seriously.
Leave your suggestions in the comments section (you know, that big scary part of the blog that only 3 of you have dared to navigate!) And please, don't suggest Tammy. She is better than that. And so are you.

The legendary tambourinist Stevie Nicks says,
"Thank you and good night."